Thursday, October 22, 2009

CMJ Music Marathon 2009: I Was A King; Evan Voytas; Eternal Summers; Free Energy; Beach Fossils @ Santos Party House

I Was A King; Evan Voytas; Eternal Summers; Free Energy; Beach Fossils
@ Santos Party House
New York, NY - October 21, 2009

The Oh My Rockness 5th Anniversary Party for CMJ should have been a celebration of the best concert calendar/song podcast in the Indie Rock universe, what with a booking of bands who have produced some of the best songs of the year. But the piss poor sound guys at Santos Party House somewhat ruined things as they tried to deafen the audience with murderous high volume for music that didn't need it. They tested the amps and speakers but good as whines and blow-outs occurred through the night and the wrong monitors were turned up or turned down at the wrong times. And all the bands suffered for it. But we persevere:

Norway's I Was A King are the possessors of "Norman Bielk", a power pop number of good stock and station. Some of the other songs matched the quality of that one but the loss of guitar on the speakers at certain moments coupled with horrid feedback knocked out the charm. I don't think the band could hear themselves either.

Evan Voytas happens to be the guy behind the most tasteful romantic song to come around in a long time, "We'd Be Good Together", a song which - like the others specifically mentioned in this piece - Oh My Rockness put on its mp3 podcast earlier this year. Yet Evan didn't play it. In fact, the material he played sounded somewhat removed from the style of "We'd Be Good Together" and his vocals, modulated as they were, didn't even sound like the same guy. The idea was entertained that Oh My Rockness had booked Evan Voytas on the strength of a song that was erroneously misidentified as being his. Well, later investigation has proved that "We'd Be Good Together" is indeed an Evan Voytas song but it's from a year or two ago, and not part of his new Peter Gabriel/Duran Duran style sound. What he did play was worthy in great swaths but the audio guys sabotaged the set with all the aforementioned problems.

Eternal Summers are a girl on guitar and a guy on drums with garage grime/dark pop flavor. Not bad but they seemed purposely disinterested which was a turn-off. It is also entirely possible they were just naturally shy.

Free Energy, the band who rose from the ashes of Hockey Night, was the one band I caught that had the sound guys on their side. What would pass for shtick if they were from Hipsterville, NY instead comes off as down-to-earth Philadelphian love of classic rock, no more, no less. A slight hint of hippiedom to their 70's shine (their banner "Dream City" kicks off with a borrow of "Spirit in the Sky") is more of a plus than a negative, at least the way they pull it off. Great solos.

Beach Fossils had way too much reverb for their outright awful lead singer but the rhythm section was tight and the guitar player was sublimely talented, doing more with less in this project that merges surf rock with the Cure.

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At October 23, 2009 at 1:45:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

u suck


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